Hi and welcome to my 1st Blog on SEO Positives new website!

Each week I will be providing you with my digital marketing Top Tips on how your online business can stay ahead of your competitors! We look after some of the biggest clients on the internet, here are a few of them: promocodes.co.uk, luggagesuperstore.co.uk, voijeans.co.uk, partybritain.co.uk and spabreak.co.uk for more examples please see our case studies.

1.    Blogging

Creating a Blog on your website is an essential part of your online marketing strategy and vital to keep your visitors engaged with news about your business. Your blog is like a newsfeed, so it’s essential to create unique interesting articles which contain links to relevant pages back within your website. If you copy and paste another article and re blog it, remember Google could penalise your site for copied text. As a general rule of thumb only use 1 link per 100 words, this will help Google crawl for keywords associated about your business. A perfect example to see how it’s done is by clicking on the words that are underlined within this article. Remember to update this as much as possible and I would suggest you spend 30 minutes daily doing this task which will benefit your websites online presence massively.

2. XML Sitemap

Your website is like a book, your menu bar is like a contents page so this needs to be clear and simple so that your visitors can navigate around your site and look at pages. You may already have a site map on your website which is like an index page in a book. By creating an XML sitemap which is tailor made especially for Google, allowing it to crawl/read your keywords on all your pages. Please see our website for an excellent example of an XML Sitemap.

3. Google Analytics

Any one that has an online presence for a personal website, small or giant online business should have Google analytics. It’s a vital part of your marketing strategy and its one of the most powerful web analytics tracking solutions that will help you understand customer trends visiting your site. This will help you improve and implement new strategies for customers to purchase or contact you resulting in a conversion. In addition Google Adwords (PPC) customers can even see their Analytics data from inside their Adwords account, plus Google Analytics is free for anyone to use.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: November 24, 2011 4:44 pm

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In the United States, we have that glorious—and I wish there were more appropriate ways to express my sarcasm—day after Thanksgiving where the stores open really early and people rush to get their Christmas shopping done. All of these big companies have deals, but the catch is that you’ve got to be there bright and early, typically around 5AM or earlier, to get the deals.

Most people, when they think of Black Friday, regard it as some sort of a “big business” type of day that is meant to get people into the malls and department stores. Stores like Finishline and 6pm can all benefit from this rush because they are big, but what about your small business? How can you, with all the rush of Black Friday, squeeze out business with some well placed discounts?

It all starts with your planning. While Black Friday is only a couple of days away, it will be here again and again year after year. Therefore, planning for it is important because you’re going to want to target the people far in advance.

The first thing you need to do is determine what exactly it is that you want to do. The entire store is 30% off or just certain items? Figure out exactly what it is that you’re going to do to get into the craze of Black Friday because that’ll help you to get things moving.

As a business owner, it’s important to understand the trickery that is Black Friday. The point is to offer such astronomical sales on a few products to get the person into the store. Once they’re in the store, they are more likely to buy something else that might only be partially discounted or not discounted at all. That’s where more of your profit will come from. Therefore, plan accordingly.

Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re going to be offering as your “discount,” the next step is to get it out there to people. You can do this one of two ways. You can try and advertise on the television like so many other companies do, hoping that your Black Friday advertisement will somehow be different than anyone else’s. Or…

You can target the social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook and spread the word that way. A study just came out saying that instead of being connected with six degrees of separation, it’s believed that Facebook makes that more around 4.72 connections away from everyone else. In other words, you can quickly begin to spread the word about your offer and it’ll gain traction.

Create some sort of a story about your great offering with a really catchy title. There’s a reason titles like “$49 iPad” get spread around like wildfire. People would love that and they share it thinking it’ll help them get the cheap iPad. I don’t suggest you use a deceptive title like that, but what I do suggest is that you use a suggestive title that makes people want to share it. If you’re an electronics company and you’re offering 60% off a 47” TV, then make the title something great like: “47” TV for Pennies on the Dollar.”

Finally, all you need to do is enjoy the rush of people coming to your business. However, keep in mind two things. First, Black Friday is only a couple of days away, so you might not get all that much exposure this year. However, next year, you will definitely gain a lot more exposure.

Secondly, think of this Black Friday as a way of gauging interest and building a following. Even if you don’t get many sales from it, you can try other ways of getting into people’s minds such as through email marketing. Don’t be afraid of collecting people’s emails in exchange for another 5% off something because they will, in turn, get your emails about your future Black Friday offerings far in advance to share it with their friends. If you start marketing your offers three weeks before Black Friday, by the time the day comes, you’ll have a ton of people there ready to get started.

Good luck on Black Friday and remember…Even if you don’t do well on Friday, there is always Cyber Monday.

Jay is an online marketing consultant who helps companies find ways to offer discounts and still increase their revenue through coupons and other offerings. One of the websites he works with offers all sorts of coupons from Finishline and 6PM. He believes in learning from the finishline promotion and other company’s plans , such as SEO Positive, to help small businesses earn more money.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:45 am

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google plusGoogle Plus has finally released the ability to create pages! The long awaited moment is finally here and now Google Plus can be used for businesses.

G+ released a video, as they religiously do whenever something is released, showing how having your business on Google Plus can be beneficial. It explains that it enables you to connect more with your customers, or even potential customers and build a relationship with them, creating one of the best possible customers to brand relationships available.

Tools like Hangouts and Circles can still be used even for the pages, which means that businesses can actually hang out with their customers. This is a great opportunity and has an endless list of possibilities, for example a question and answer session online, or an instructional video where customers can ask for help there and then.

This hangout feature creates convenience with customer service and provides a platform where it can be as close to real life as possible.

In the next few days I will be optimizing a Google Plus page for SEO Positive and oversee how my efforts have increased positions and so on. From what I have seen so far, Google Pages are put together very well in the sense that they are extremely similar to the Google + profiles, however they can represent a business and in my opinion they are better than Facebook pages because of the possibilities that are available currently.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 29, 2011 2:56 pm

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Chances are, you’ve heard lots of other marketers talking about the benefits of using a blog as an internet marketing strategy. Depending on your level of experience online, your only contact with blogs may have been a few written by stay at home moms or dog lovers, and if so you’re probably wondering just what a blog like that could do to help you out.

The truth is, blogs are not only a powerful ally for your online business, but they happen to be one of the best internet marketing strategies out there. With a blog you have free range to try out a variety of different techniques, testing the waters to see what works and what doesn’t before you invest a lot of money in a paid advertising launch. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider using a blog in your marketing campaign.

Blogs are Free

This should appeal to any business owner who has a sense of where their money is going. We’ve all heard the saying that “nothing is free,” but in this case it’s actually not true (for the most part). Should you choose to go this route, there are plenty of free blogging platforms, including Blogger, WordPress, and LiveJournal, that you can use for your business without spending a penny. Now, you can also work with paid services that give you more control over the design and setup of the blog, but it really just depends on what your goals are.

Blogs Provide Fresh Content for Search Engines

SEO is your biggest priority for internet marketing, and there’s nothing that search engines love more than fresh, keyword filled content. It doesn’t take much to update the blog several times a week – a few posts as short as 350 words or so are all you really need. You can either write these yourself or hire a freelance writer to take care of the job. Do some keyword research and then fill your blog posts with those keywords so that they attract more search engine traffic. This is especially helpful if you operate an e-commerce site that doesn’t have much changing content.

Blogs Are the Ultimate Backlink Source

With a blog you get unlimited backlinks, essentially, and that makes them one of the most valuable internet marketing strategies you could ever employ. Every post can have a link back to your main website, meaning that your backlink growth is only limited by how many posts you make. Not only are these quality backlinks, but you can anchor them in your targeted keywords and place these right in the middle of highly relevant content. That’s SEO gold.

Many websites have multiple business blogs so that the backlinks are coming from different domains, so consider that as an option if you have the time to set up three or four different blogs and update them regularly. Either way, blogs are an excellent idea for any internet marketer.

Nickie John is an avid Internet marketer who pushes for responsible habits in online consumerism. She has a team of Internet marketing specialists who help her run her site as well as manage the many blogs that she contributes to. If you’re interested in Nickie’s Internet marketing strategy or you would like to find out more on Internet marketing strategies, vist her website.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 20, 2011 2:32 pm

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When the economy is starving, restaurants feel it. Seats are empty and food is uncooked. Marketing strategies that once seemed unnecessary now become vital. Facebook, the world’s most popular social media tool, is an excellent way to get hungry mouths through the doors.

Here are 13 things restaurants can do with Facebook:

1) Become “friends” with patrons

Most of the people that come into a restaurant are either on Facebook or know someone who is. Having a Facebook page for the restaurant is a great way to turn casual diners into devoted eaters.

2) Send coupons and discounts

Friends should be rewarded. With Facebook, restaurants can access their friends and pay them back with coupons and discounts. A free appetizer or dessert is an enticing reason to come back in.

3) Post reviews (all of them)

People like reviews. A well-written review can help potential diners curb the risk-reward ration that comes along with trying out something new. But don’t just post the good reviews. If there are a few negative comments, leave them in.

4) Advertise your servers

Employees that continually provide excellent service and post higher-than-average sales can be advertised on Facebook. This shows customers the best the restaurant has to offer. Just make sure the employees are fine with being solicited.

5) Engage customers

Customers want to know that they are being seen and heard. With Facebook, they can be monitored even when they’re not in the restaurant. Engage customers by addressing their criticism and praising their patronage.

6) Give away secrets

People want to be on the inside, where the information is passed around and the keys are handed out. Give away some of the restaurants secrets – where food is purchased, how it is shipped to the store, etc. – and watch as customers flood in.

7) Award frequent diner privileges

If a person or group frequents the restaurant more than usual, thank them for it with frequent diner privileges. This can be the pick of a good table, half-off a dish, or a personal sit-down with the chef.

8) Remind people of hours and holidays

There’s almost nothing worse than being hungry, having a particular restaurant in mind and getting there to find it closed. Use Facebook to announce early closings, openings and holidays ahead of time.

9) Post chef backgrounds

By having a small chef background, which lists where they went to school or studied, what type of food they like and how they prefer to cook, guests can feel like they are dining in the comfort of their own kitchen.

10) Employ multimedia

Videos and audio clips add so much more to a Facebook page. Employ multimedia to make the Facebook experience more engaging. The more people want to go to the Facebook restaurant, the more they will want to go to the real one.

11) List food stats

The 21st century is all about health. Help people know what they are putting into their bodies by keeping food stats on Facebook. Calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates and other useful information should be just a few clicks away.

12) Provide menus

“What are you going to get?” is the most asked question in the dining world. By providing a menu on its Facebook page, a restaurant will never have to hear this question. Guests can decide what they are going to enjoy before they even get to the parking lot.

13) Show restaurant history

Express company pride by adding information about the restaurant’s history. Talk about where it was founded, how long ago and what its goals for the future are.

When it comes to restaurants, there is a direct correlation between hunger and relevance. As soon as a customer has satisfied their cravings, they move on to the next thing in their life. But with Facebook, a restaurant can remain important and visible, no matter how hungry its guests are. If you are not a fan of Facebook, get onto Google+ and see what the internet mega giant has in store for its new social networking website.

Stay connected with your friends on Google+ by getting an invite and registering an account. On Google+, you can use some unique features such as Hangouts, Stream, and Circles.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 15, 2011 9:21 am

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Facebook – it is no longer that silly website that had your child foaming at the mouth while staring at their computer screen or mobile for hours. This social network has come a long way since its launch and is no longer just a place for you to try and find old school friends and previous partners. Of course, a lot of people still use the site to interact and share things with their friends, but the business potential for companies has become incredible – so much so, that it is almost essential for you to include your business on this site. Companies are able to connect with their consumers on a personal level, get their honest feedback and, of course, market products to a specific targeted group – which ensures better returns.

If you are relatively new to the whole concept, you may need some assistance in getting started. For this reason, I have listed some helpful tips for beginners.

Create your Facebook page:

This is not a profile or a group, but a page specifically designed for businesses. Signing up is similar to creating a profile, so be sure to have a company logo and some interesting things to fill up the empty page. Once you have uploaded some pictures, brochures and information, you should be ready to start attracting fans.

Start the promotion:

The easiest way to get things rolling is to ask your friends and employees to “like” your fan page. In turn, your posts will show up on their wall, allowing their friends to see your products. You should also link your website to your fan page so that visitors to your website can follow your fan page on Facebook.

Increase awareness:

Once you have a fairly decent amount of fans, it’s time to kick things into the next gear. A promotion is always a good option but remember that you want to attract people that are interested in your product. It’s all good having 20 000 fans, but if more than half have liked your page just because of a competition, then it is pointless. Also, be sure to interact with customers, encourage them to give reviews and eventually your product will market itself.

Now that you understand the basics, join Facebook and create a page for your business today. Once you get to know your way around, you can then expand onto Facebook advertising where you can specifically target people who would be interested in your services/product.

Jason Acar has a passion for online marketing and social media. He also writes articles for a corporate team building in Johannesburg company that specialize in hot air ballooning.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:31 pm

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There are so many things that businesses can (and do) do wrong when it comes to using social media.

Perhaps the biggest offense and the most common one is to believe that your customers don’t realize what you’re doing when you promote a product or a service or a business affiliate on your company Twitter account or Facebook page.

Believe me – it’s obvious. As a business, don’t get so involved in your own social media world that you forget that Twitter and Facebook have been around for a long time – heck, they made a movie about Facebook, and Zuckerburg was on the cover of Time Magazine. Don’t think people are stupid when it comes to understanding the ways in which businesses use social media. Especially if your target audience is in their twenties. Talk to them, and they could probably tell you better than you think what you can and should be doing with social media.

In fact, many of them could tell you what works – and the ins and outs and etiquette – of Facebook and Twitter better than the “social media expert” that you’ve hired that tells you that you need more Facebook advertisements. It’s not a hard and fast number, but Facebook ads don’t usually result in more than a 1% return – it’s white noise and people ignore it.

The point of social media is not to push your new product to death – to be that obnoxious commercial you see on TV that you have to switch the channel for – social media is about, well, being…social. If that isn’t a concept you can understand, then maybe you should hold off on participating in Facebook and Twitter. It’s networking with customers, getting to know them, asking questions and engaging – seeing what their honest opinion is on your product or service or company and proactively doing something about it.

If you do decide to run promotions or sales or some sort of special on your Facebook or Twitter account, be transparent about it. As I’ve mentioned – you’ll offend and turn more customers away if you treat them like they can’t understand what you’re doing, like you assume that because you’re a business on Facebook you can utilize and understand the platform so much better than everyone else. Don’t alienate your own customers. That’s bad idea number one.

And if all you do is run promotions, people will start drifting away from your social media presence – treating you like just another advertisement, and shoving you into a corner of your minds where they ignore you and your “message.” Your social media campaign just becomes white noise to a disheartened public.

To really work with social media in your company, you need to have a social media team – not just an intern that doesn’t really understand your company mission but is “good with Twitter.” You need people monitoring conversations, communicate with each other and you and make sure you have a strong, integrated front to present to the world. You need to get involved, get your hands dirty and not be afraid of losing face.

One of the most stunning examples of this is from Morton’s Steakhouse. A loyal customer (who also happened to be big CEO and have 10K or so followers on Twitter) tweeted from the airport that he wouldn’t have time to eat after he landed in his destination, and would Morton’s please get him a steak and drop it off at his arrival airport?

And you know what? They did. Even though the tweet was a joke, and not something the tweeter seriously considered would happen, it did. This is the kind of thing, as a business, you want to do with social media. Impress people. Go above and beyond, and do it consistently. Listen. Improve. Ask questions, and offer rewards.

Jade Evans is a freelance writer who works with everyone from banks in clifton park ny to Christmas wholesalers – her day is always interesting!

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:02 pm

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According to a recent field survey by Marchex, small businesses are becoming more and more conscious of the internet’s role in the decision-making process of consumers. In this very survey, a whopping 53 percent of the respondents said that SEO is “very important” while 41 percent said that it was “somewhat important”. Only 6% listed SEO as “not very important.” Search engine optimization is necessary for websites to rank high in search engine results. Frankly, if your website is not optimized then you’re practically  burning money. Local businessmen may not become SEO experts in just a day or two but here are a few basic tips that entrepreneurs can use.

Inspect your technical set up.

Of course, webmasters are particular with regards to the aesthetic value of their website. However, search engines are not like humans. Search engines view and analyze websites through different lenses. And for that reason, you need to think about your folder structure, site map and HTML readability. Websites that are heavy on Flash should have a text based description that relies on HTML to help search bots.

Create a list of keywords.

Before approaching the subject of keywords, individuals need to understand that they should not over think things. Quickly, jot down three or four keywords that you want your website to rank for. Now, ask other people you know this and then tabulate the results. Those keywords that overlap are those who will most likely be searched first. Now, make searches for these keywords and then try to find your website. If by the tenth page you still cannot find your website, stop! Chances are that other people won’t find your website as well.
While looking at the results for these searches, note down websites that are similar to yours. In this case, note down local business websites and try to take note of how they are designed and how information is being presented. Keywords can actually be broken down into three categories—those which you rank low in but have low competition, those where you rank low in but have high competition and those which you rank high in. You should try working on keywords that fall on the first category.

Incorporate these keywords.

Again, it is necessary for individuals to write for humans and not for search engines. However, incorporating these keywords in the most natural manner should be helpful. You can come up with a blog post every now and then which is dedicated to your top keywords. The important thing to consider though is that everything should be as natural as possible.

Chris Marentis is an experienced marketer who likes to write aboute Surefire Social and local marketing experts

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 7, 2011 2:34 pm

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The world of social media is exactly that, a world of its own. These days, the best advice for any business is to develop a presence through social media to truly connect with existing and potential customers. One of the best and easiest social media applications to use is Twitter. Twitter offers real-time networking that gives businesses access to the most up-to-date information. Twitter can be a powerful tool for businesses when used creatively.  Even if your in a not-so-fun business, like auto insurance, you still can use Twitter to connect with your followers. Below are four quick and easy ways to use Twitter to give any business a boost.

1. Tweet to Connect with Customers

Every business aims to serve their customers, but what better way to get to know the customers than bonding with them in real time. In the real world it’s almost impossible to interact with customers on a daily basis, but Twitter changes that. Here are some methods to consider implementing to connect with customers through Twitter:

  • Comment on Current Events: Customers want to know who they’re doing business with. They are interested in who businesses support and like assurance that businesses are in tune with what’s going on in the world other than their own internal affairs.
  • Ask for Input: Twitter can be used to get feedback from those that are using the products and services offered by businesses. Customer input can be invaluable especially when it’s received in real-time. Twitter can be used to ask general questions of the public or to conduct a poll.

2. Tweet to Protect Public Image

Word has always traveled fast, but with technology today it travels ten times faster. Twitter can be used like a modern day public relations representative by businesses to protect their public image and ensure that they continue to stay in positive light. Twitter can help businesses to perform the following major PR functions.

  • Correct the Wrong: Not everything always goes as planned for business. Twitter offers businesses a great way to send a mass message to the public to apologize for any inconveniences or straighten out any unfounded rumors. The TwitterSearch feature can also help companies identify when someone has tweeted about them. This is a great way to address customer complaints quickly and efficiently.
  • Promote the Good: Companies can let the masses know when they are involved with or sponsoring a community event or can reach out to gain support and awareness for worthy causes.

3. Tweet to Recognize and Recruit

Human Resource professionals around the world are acknowledging the impact that Twitter can have when it comes to personnel. There are two big ways companies can use Twitter to tap into current and future employees.

  • Recognize: Employees are the backbone of every company and Twitter is a tool that can be used to publicly recognize and reward employee achievements.
  • Recruit: In a world of technology, job seekers and quality candidates are ripe for the picking online. Twitter can be a useful resource to announce open positions and follow people of interest. The best part is Twitter is free to use versus most job boards and advertising sources.

4. Twitter to Stay Abreast

A successful business is fully aware of their competition and tries to stay a step ahead of the rest. Twitter can help companies stay in the know about their competitors.

  • Get to Know the Competition: The Twitter Search Feature can be used to find tweets posted by or about competitors. This can help gain perspective and insight to how the public views these companies, provide links to websites or listings and reveal some of the competitors online and social media strategies.
  • Follow Them: While it may not be wise to openly follow a competitor, unless there is a mutual and open relationship exists, it may be helpful to follow competitors through private Twitter accounts. This provides some real-time updates, insight and access to other companies’ daily business.

Twitter is not just another virtual toy to be enjoyed by celebrities and younger generations. Twitter can be a powerful resource and a tool for businesses. Twitter is a customer liaison, public relations representative, human resource assistant and a secret agent all in one easy to use package.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:36 am

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TwitterSocial Media Marketing (SMM) can be a powerful tool for businesses large and small. But as a small business owner juggling inventory, advertising customer relationships and even the books, who has time to get online and Tweet or ‘like’ much of anything?

The simple fact is that social media marketing, when done correctly, can be an invaluable asset to a business and is typically worth the effort to implement and execute. Below are some tips to getting your small business exposure in social media through Twitter without breaking your bank or cutting your sleep to nill.

Finding Time to Tweet

The primary players in the social media world right now are Twitter and Facebook with an estimated combined membership of nearly 1 billion members, the potential of advertising in these two mediums is undeniable. But how does a small business owner find the time to participate?

When it comes to a social media campaign, there are four ways a small business can choose to participate in SMM:

  1. The owner/proprietor participates directly, Tweeting, posting and ‘liking’ each campaign manually.
  2. The owner/proprietor hires an employee (either full-time or part-time) to run SMM efforts.
  3. The owner outsources SMM efforts to a third party.
  4. The owner/proprietor chooses to automate (or partially automate) SMM efforts.

Naturally, there are pluses and minuses to each method listed above with choice #1 having the least monetary cost, but highest opportunity cost for the business owner. I’m sure most small business owners can think of a thousands things they could occupy their time with over tweeting on Twitter or liking and posting on Facebook. The remaining three choices have some varying degree of monetary cost to the owner but also allow the business owner to focus on more productive activities. Choices #2 and #3 are likely the most costly and should typically be avoided unless the business owner is a social media marketing experts or intend on hiring a SMM expert. Social media experts come at a price and that price is often worth the cost, depending on the campaign (and budget).

Social Media Marking – Blending Automation and Manual

The best option for most small business owners is likely to partially automate and partially participate in SMM efforts. The participation can be either the owner or a designated employee, but with partial automation, the employee or owner can also dedicate time to other efforts. Partial automation has two primary benefits:

  1. Lowered labor (or opportunity) costs from automation
  2. “Human” presence in Social Media channels improving customer perception

How to Partially-Automate Social Media

There are two primary methods for automating social media campaigns: client applications (programs you install on your own computer) and online services.

Some online services like Twuffer.com allow Twitter users to schedule posts in advance. Type the post in and schedule when the post should be sent. It’s a set it and forget it type of free service. The downside? Each tweet must be manually scheduled (and written). I’m a proponent of every tweet being manually composed by a human, but re-tweeting the same post multiple times definitely has its place as well. For more info on this concept, see my related article on Twitter for Business. Full-feature online services for Twitter often have a recurring cost (usually monthly) associated and become somewhat cost-prohibited when saving money is one of the goals of automation.

Another possible option is to purchase and install a client application that runs on your computer to automate your Twitter campaigns. Applications like TweetAdder offer multiple functions – from auto-tweets to auto-follow and un-follows, automatic greeting messages and automation of RSS feed posting. The best part about client-based applications is that there’s no recurring monthly fee! Check out this review of TweetAdder for more information.

Social media marketing is possible, even for small business. Like everything else in the world of a small business owner, SMM just has to be approached intelligently and deliberately to be successful.

About the Author:

Daniel Ruyter is single dad, author, blogger, cupcake addict and tech nerd with over 15 years experience in information technology.  He’s editor of Memoirs of a Single Dad and Man Made Reviews and also does WordPress consulting and Social Media Marketing consultations for small business.

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